Two left-armers is all right, says McDermott
Craig McDermott coaches youngsters in Canberra last month. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
AUSTRALIA'S former fast bowling coach, Craig McDermott, can see no reason why left-arm pacemen Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson cannot both play against Sri Lanka in the first Test in Hobart.
The general view is that one of Johnson or Starc will sit out the series opener, but with Ben Hilfenhaus yet to rediscover the form of 12 months ago, selectors will seriously contemplate retaining both left-armers.
''You can play two right-armers so why can't you play two left-armers? I don't understand the thinking of that,'' McDermott said on Tuesday.
''If you had two gun left-handers it's the same as two gun right-handers. Nobody ever argues about having two right-handers in a team. If you had two Bruce Reids, why wouldn't you play two Bruce Reids?''
In the 135-year history of Test cricket, Australia has fielded just four left-arm pace pairings - Gary Gilmour and Tony Dell, Chris Matthews and Bruce Reid, Alan Davidson and Ian Meckiff, and Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger.
On the 31 occasions Australia has done so, it has won 19 times, with the Davidson-Meckiff and Johnson-Bollinger combinations responsible for 18 of them.
The strategy could deepen the footmarks for star Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath to aim at, though with only two right-handed batsmen in Australia's top seven, that danger is somewhat mitigated.
An in-form Hilfenhaus, however, would almost certainly see that move shelved but the Tasmanian is continuing to rebuild his action after a moderate series against South Africa.
''I still think he's had some work to do, even in Adelaide,'' McDermott said. ''Hopefully in his time off in Perth and preparation for this Test match he's been working on his lines through the crease and getting his arm up a bit higher to get that fluency, swing and pace he had last year.
''It'd be good to see him get that back because last year he probably bowled the best he has in his life, not only from a swing point of view but his lines and his lengths and certainly his pace is right up there. He bowled some quick spells there last year.''
McDermott is no longer involved in Australia's national set-up but is scouring the country for the next rising speed demon as part of his private venture PACE Bowling Australia - a series of clinics aimed at youngsters.
The program has been up and running for nearly a month but he was finally able to unveil the Pitch Vision technology that provides instant video analysis of a bowler's action and ball trajectory, at a clinic in Sydney on Monday.
Candidates are able to view their footage online, which is supplemented by a detailed report from McDermott outlining a player's strengths and weaknesses.
''They can see their pitch maps, if they swing the ball, if the ball's seaming and the pace they're bowling,'' McDermott said.
He has the exclusive rights to Pitch Vision in Australia but is in discussions with Cricket Australia on sharing the technology for its development programs.